By Emilie Ng
FOUR Catholic schoolgirls hit all the right notes when they gave their Christmas busking money to the founders of Queensland’s only children’s hospice – Hummingbird House.
Sisters Olivia and Ruby Fox, and twins Stephanie and Rachel Anderson, who together perform as Sorella String Quartet, raised $900 for the palliative care facility by busking at Brisbane’s Queen Street Mall over Christmas.
The girls, who are students at St Rita’s College, Clayfield; All Hallows’ School; and St Anthony’s School, Kedron, met through the Western Suburbs String Orchestra and quickly formed their quartet in 2013.
Olivia, a violinist, said the quartet always had a soft spot for helping other Queensland kids.
“From the start we decided to have a fifth member of the quartet, and that would be from a charity, but our mums heard about Hummingbird House,” the 14-year-old said.
“We thought it would be perfect because we wanted to support children and (Hummingbird House) was just starting off so they needed all the help they could get.”
Sorella String Quartet performed at the official Hummingbird House project launch at Chermside on February 18.
Hummingbird House is a joint initiative of Queensland Kids and Wesley Mission Brisbane.
The facility will be “a home away from home” for Queensland children affected by “life-limiting conditions”.
It will be the state’s only children’s hospice and only the third facility of its kind in Australia.
Federal and State governments have pledged more than $11 million, meeting half of Hummingbird House’s financial needs.
An anonymous family also donated $3 million, money that allowed the project’s construction to begin.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott acknowledged the government funding as well as the selfless donations from Sorella String Quartet while attending the launch.
Mr Abbott said Australia needed facilities like Hummingbird House.
“We so need facilities like Hummingbird House because there are those amongst us, very precious to us, who aren’t going to live as long as we would like,” he said at the launch.
“Every single one of us as parents, as citizens, as people in public life, want to do the right thing by our kids.
“And we need a place where they can be looked after with all the love and tenderness that we wish to give them.
“All life is precious, young life is particularly precious.
“And when those young lives are not as long as we want them to be, they are absolutely special and the most precious things we can imagine.”
The Prime Minister personally offered words of encouragement to the young musicians.
“It’s so good that you can all play a musical instrument because I reckon that there are two things that every truly accomplished person should be able to do,” Mr Abbott said.
“One, play a musical instrument, and two, speak a foreign language.”